In the coming weeks high school students in Australia will be graduating from grade 12 and descending in droves to beaches and resorts to celebrate.
The revelry usually goes for about 18-days starting on November 19. Tens of thousands of graduates participate in the annual celebration for school leavers. Gold Coast has about 60,000 young people participating, and Byron Bay, the second most popular destination, has about 10,000 people attend.
While most people’s experience at Schoolies is positive and fun, there is often also the misuse of drugs, alcohol and excessive partying. Unfortunately girls and guys are often taken advantage of by their peers and sometime by older predators as well during the event.
Youth With A Mission has had a presence at Schoolies for many decades, providing activities, support, safe places and people to patrol the areas where the youth are partying. I did an outreach with YWAM Sunshine Coast back in 1998 where we spent a lot of time talking with the school leavers, helping them where needed, and pointing them in the right direction if they needed further help.
I’ve contacted numerous YWAM Centres in Australia to see what schoolies outreach opportunities are available and will be updating this article with that information and talking about it on the next YWAM Podcast when I hear back from the different centres.
YWAM Byron Bay runs a schoolies outreach every year. Both YWAM Brisbane, YWAM Newcastle and YWAM Sunshine Coast do their outreaches by joining with YWAM Byron Bay. Some of the outreach activities that they engage in are:
- Hotel Chaplains
- Organised Sports
- Free BBQ
- Street Concerts
- One on One Evangelism
YWAM Reef to Outback, YWAM Newcastle and YWAM Brisbane usually include the schoolies outreach as a part of their Discipleship Training School (YWAM DTS).
YWAM Sunshine Coast has stopped doing their schoolies outreach to Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, where I did my schoolies outreach, since the Maroochy Shire Council stopped supporting and funding the activities in 2007.